RED BANK — Teenagers need a place of their own sometimes. That’s why the staff of the Boys and Girls Club’s Red Bank location invited its teen members to create one.
Teens in the organization’s Keystone Club recently took on the job of renovating a space on the second floor of the Boys and Girls Club building at 138 Drs. James Parker Boulevard to make it a place of their own.
According to Jaclyn Boruch, the club’s marketing director, the area near a computer lab previously was used for closet and office space.
The kids did the painting, spackling and much of the heavy lifting to convert the location into a place “where the teens come here to hang out,” Boruch said.
“Everyone played a big part,” in the work, added Juan Lopez, a former club member who now works at the location.
“Once I got the paint and the TV it was really easy,” he said.
The lounge has comfortable chairs, couch, a table and chairs, and the large screen TV. The purpose of the lounge, like the entire club, is to provide kids of that age, with a safe, comfortable place they can come, hang out with friends, and participate in the club’s leadership and educational programs.
About 15 of the club’s teen members joined in the work. “They all took a paint brush to the walls,” said Lopez on Monday evening, as the club held an open house to present the new space.
“Once we got the ideas together,” Lopez said, “the kids really ran with it.” And the work, he explained, gave them, “A chance to empower themselves.”
“We put a lot of work in that room,” Ronald Smith, a 15-year-old borough resident and Keystone Club president, said with no small amount of pride showing.
“It was hard work. Sometimes we didn’t have all the material,” he recalled of the project. But, he continued, “We ultimately got it done.”
The rooms were painted maroon and gray, representing the Red Bank Regional High School colors. And there is a bookcase for whatever books they would like to share, as well as providing a place for any trophies the members win, he said.
“They’re all great kids,” Lopez observed. “They made my job really easy.”
The rooms will be available from 6-8 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The club anticipates that 50 or more teen members will make use of the new space.